Our 10 Best Barbecue Restaurants in NYC
It's no secret that this city is in the throes of another barbecue renaissance, and like the cooking conditions for a well-done brisket, the process of getting to this point has been low and slow. The previous decade saw several spikes in 'cue prevalence, adding regional styles to the restaurant landscape along the way. Post-millennial NYC barbecue owes thanks in part to operations like the now-defunct Pearson's Texas BBQ (c. 1992) and Virgil's Real Barbecue (c. 1994), which, while indeed real, now seems staid compared to the current smoky frontrunners (though, there are plenty worse options than Virgil's Memphis pork ribs if you're in Times Square). From early torchbearers like Danny Meyer and Adam Perry Lang to Zak Pelaccio's Fatty 'Cue and Hugh Mangum's Mighty Quinn's, the city's smoked-meat options have never looked more well-marbled, and we can proudly declare that our barbecue bark is now as good as our bite. Here are our 10 best barbecue restaurants in NYC.
10. Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Avenue, Queens
Ethically raised meat gets the star treatment at Matthew Katakis's butcher shop turned barbecue restaurant. Pork ribs and burnt ends command respect, but the go-to order channels Philadelphia for inspiration. Chunks of smoky brisket topped with melted cheese and griddled onions drag an East Coast classic down South with compelling results. In-house sausages also give the shop ample opportunity to showcase the quality of its for-sale products; the plump links derive their homespun look from their coarse grind and natural casings, the filling bursting through the crackled exterior.
9. Hill Country Barbecue Market, 30 West 26th Street
However Texas-meets-Disneyland the place might be, this bi-level ode to the Lone Star State (and specifically, the Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas) displays its serious barbecue chops when it's doling out thick wedges of fatty brisket and plump sausages imported from the very market that inspired the space. Load up on meat and sides like corn pudding and black-eyed peas and head to the downstairs bar where you're likely to find a live performance. Past acts have included Tom Colicchio and Joe Bastianich, who tugged at both heartstrings and guitar strings to celebrate the launch of an "industry night" special a few years ago.
8. The Strand Smokehouse, 25-27 Broadway, Queens
When Queens native and former John Brown Smokehouse chef de cuisine John Zervoulakos decamped to The Strand, he promised to put his own local spin on the techniques he learned while under Josh Bowen's tutelage. And so this beer garden-barbecue hall combo in Astoria serves Greek-inflected slow-cooked lamb leg, smoky and fragrant with rosemary, in addition to oddball specials like duck pastrami and beef short ribs hefty enough to rival Kenny Callaghan's exalted specimens at Blue Smoke. Not into land animals? Zervoulakos channels old New York with barbecue kippered salmon, hot-smoked and served chilled.